Related to the La Mexicana III topic, I also finally made it to Carnival (Mexican) Market in Pontiac (1101 E. Walton ---thx Cw/E and Grue). In fairness to LMIII which I’m glad I visited, I had went there late in the evening (so their food wasn’t at its peak), and they DO have a wider menu and table service. Nevertheless, my experience at Carnival was superior to LMIII.
Carnival’s tacos are just a notch below Taqueria Alameda, which is to say wonderful. On corn tortillas, I had a substantial Carnival carnitas taco and a beef “fajitas” taco ($1.49ea), as well as a side of chips with guacamole. The carnitas meat was simple and naturally juicy as a result of not overcooking, and the reduced braise of “fajitas” beef was deeply flavorful. All the toppings (onions, cilantro, limes, etc.) were fresh and just sliced…benefitting from the stock in the adjoining grocery store which is big, new and excellently run.
Carnival serves only at the counter, where you can watch them assemble your food and often deep fry your chips upon order. There are tables by the front windows viewing the parking lot, in a stark but clean room. Also in that room is a big, free, fresh salsa bar. Four types, each offered in med or hot (4x2=8 choices). ¡Qué maravilla!
You also surely would be welcome to step over to the grocery cooler to pick up a value priced pint of fresh guacamole to slather all over whatever you ordered, if you were so inclined. My only disappointments were the rice and beans, but let’s not get started there again. After eating, peruse the wide selection at the grocery’s meat counter, get some fresh salsa for sure, and swing past the baked goods. FYI—The food counter specializes in family bundles and party packs, so you might consider take-out or bringing in friends.
Next time I’ll expand my sampling to Carnival’s tamales, the chicharron (fried pork rind) soup and an al pastor pork burrito. If you are one who partakes in cattle or hog tongue-‘til-colon digestive tract parts, you won’t find yourself empty handed. Lastly, I’ll add that it seems the manager at Carnival emphasizes the importance of friendliness to all customers, not just to the regulars from the neighborhood with whom reserved employees most easily can relate. If you don’t love this place, you will certainly at least like it. Te garantizo.